First let me say I did not see the Detroit game live, I'm basing this off game stats.
Second I do understand it's the pre-season and teams do not make in-game adjustments many times because they are looking to work out problems as much as or more then they are trying to win the game.
Yet I still worry about how this game got away from the Pats as it seems eerily consistent with nearly all the losses since SB'09: NY Giants (SB), Ravens (playoffs), Browns (reg season) and Jets (playoffs).
The patriots do not adjust their offensive game plan to account for aggressive Dlines in game. Some stats from Detroit to support this after the jump
I've wanted a better commitment to the run from the Pats for a long time and I really, REALLY wanted Mark Ingram in the draft this year. I am happy they went OL followed by 2 RBs in the draft and feel that on paper they are at least considering running the ball. But my problem is in the games. They have the tools to employ a very effective running game, and they certain have opponents and game situations where it would be a very good idea. Yet it hasn't happened in a very, very long time. Here is a simple drive analysis from detroit:
Pats Drive Score Pass Plays Run plays
1 0-3 4 2
2 0-10 9 6*
3 3-10 3 1
4 3-17 4 2
5 3-17 1 1
6 10-20 3 0
1st Half totals 24 12
* - ran consecutive running plays
1. Against a team with a known pass rush, the Pats came out in with a pass heavy/ standard Pats O and ran twice as many pass plays as runs. Suh and co must be preparing Xmas cards for BoB right now.
2. Their most productive drive featured the highest number or running plays. (I don't count a TD on busted coverage as productive)
3. As the half went on, they did not adjust their play calling to the nature of the D. As the score increased they played right into the defenses hand.
I worry because I see this as the EXACT same thing that happened last year in the playoffs and in the other bad losses I noted above. I worry that the Pats either have too much ego or not enough awareness offense. Either that or they have just fallen into the Dan Marino/Peyton Manning curse of the Golden Arm.
Again I didn't see the game so I don't know how often they tried screen passes or Play action passes but I do know that since they only ran the ball on consecutive plays once and only started 2 of 6 drives with running plays in the first half screens or play action would not work. The defense had no reason to respect the run or slow down for any reason in misdirection such as this. All these plays would do would put more pressure in front of Tommy quicker.
So am I completely off base here or does anyone else see a reason to worry once again about the Pats in game offensive adjustments?
The Pats run a balanced attack when the defense lets them. When the passing game can get going they sprinkle in the run to keep the defense off balance. But when the passing game can't get going....they simply keep trying to pass. It's like the idea of running the ball and forcing the defense to adjust to something else doesn't even enter their minds as more then a passing thought or a gimmick.